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    Half-Acre Homestead

Brooklyn Brownstone Painted Pink

Your guess is as good as mine. Neighbors must be horrified.

Recycled Lumber in America's Small Towns

Reclamation Road - A Reality Show 5

Nice Tiny Home in Woods

Largest Solar Power Plant in World

Article in Sunday's NY Times magazine by Julie Bosman, photo by Jamey Stillings
"Out in the Mojave Desert in California, a power plant that could eventually generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes hopes to get its moment in the sun soon. When the $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah is completed — sometime next year, if all goes according to plan — nearly 350,000 mirrors on 3,600 acres will reflect light onto boilers. Steam will power turbines, which will generate electricity that flows to California homes. It will be the largest such plant in the world.…"

New York's Hidden Beach (Queens)

Nice photo by Nolan Conway in today's NY Times in article on a hidden beach in Queens (well, hidden before this article). Check out Nolan's website. Excellent photographer; worth browsing. Check out his "Tunnels" pix.

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

One of the great luxuries in our lives is getting the New York Times delivered every morning. Gets here at 5AM, even out in this pretty rural area. Yesterday there was this article on microbes by Carl Zimmer, one of the NYT's excellent writers. It caught my attention because I've been making sauerkraut (and fermenting olives) lately, and doing other things like drinking Kambucha tea and taking probiotic tablets to promote a healthy digestive system.

"For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.
'I would like to lose the language of warfare,' said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. 'It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.'
   This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers.
    No one wants to abandon antibiotics outright. But by nurturing the invisible ecosystem in and on our bodies, doctors may be able to find other ways to fight infectious diseases, and with less harmful side effects. Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes.…"
Article here.
Carl Zimmers blog here.
Cool Tools here (where I first heard of the great book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon.

Mini Cars for Tiny Homes

"Hi Lloyd,
Love your blog. Our family regularly follows your postings.
We visited a great Microcar museum recently and thought I'd share our photos:
Anne from Arnoldsville, GA"

This is Messerschmitt, which resembles an airplane cockpit. There were a lot of these in Germany when I was there in the USAF in the late '50s. The entire top hinges open. Still looks modern.

Young Red Shouldered Hawk Sings the Blues

The cries have been going on for several days. Kee-ahh, kee-ahh, kee-ahh, as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the sound: http://shltr.net/redblues. We figure it's junior being forced out of the nest and not liking it. "Get a job, get your own place…"
   Last evening, the young one was in one tree, another hawk in a distant tree, and they were calling back and forth to each other. Below, the young one takes off and flies over to the other one. After a short period, one flew off.

Pickle Barrel House in Minnesota

"Lloyd, howdy;
I mailed you before about my friend George, who is restoring the Pickle Barrel House in Grand Marais, MI. It was built by the artist beyond a popular comic strip in Chicago around the turn of the (other) century. In it, the characters lived in pickle barrels. He built the house on their vacation property in the upper peninsula of MI as a surprise for his wife.
The restoration proceeds…up in Grand Marais (think: Alaska; not too far off culturally and otherwise)
Working 7 day/week, with a few brief trips back to work on a boat.
-Joshua Marker"

Who Walks in When I Walk Out/Firehouse 5 Plus 2

I loved these guys when I was in high school. I had a bunch of 45s of their records. Still makes me happy.

Brass in Pocket/The Pretenders

"I feel inventive…"

Foggy Morning, Grieving Crows, Iridescent Dragonflies, and Big Buck

We had a real hot day (for us) a few days ago and I took a long bike ride to a pond deep in the hills. To get in the water I had to make a tunnel through the cattails. The technique is to wade forward and lie down on the cattails and they will accomodatingly bend over, and then when you can't wade, you swim forward and push them down and pretty soon voila!, you've entered the pond through a cattail tunnel. Smooth pond surface.
   Being back in jock mode now that I'm home, intending to build back strength lost in recent months (years), I started out with my triathalon style crawl, smooth and steady. Jeez, it felt good, but after a while I decided to float for a while, and as soon as I did, 3 iridescent red dragonflies buzzed out from the shore like combat helicopters, skimming the surface and angling around my head. They'd go back to shore and buzz out again, I guess cruising for insects. Sparkling. Pretty cool. I decided to float longer. A little bird—dark on top, white on bottom, species I'd never seen—hopped down on a cattail 10' from me. Didn't register to him this was a humanoid.
  Then there was movement on the hill and a magnificent buck deer walked serenely across the hillside, oblivious of me. The full monte. Now I'm truly home.
   This morning on the highway, there were 3 crows sitting on the line, looking kind of hunched up, not normal. There was a dead crow on the road -- never seen one that I can think of, and these family members were doing I don't know what. But crows are powerfully intelligent creatures (see the book Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays by Candace Savage) and this was a strong scene.
   On the way back from yoga, the Beach Boys doing "Good Vibrations" on radio. Jeez, this is a masterpiece. Back in the day I never took them seriously. The only one who was real surfer was Dennis. They just seemed lightweight in my quest to be ever hip. I overlooked the soaring harmonies and intricate instrumentals. This is on the Mozart level.

50 seconds in Cloudbreak Barrel with Kalani Chapman

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by Igor D. Arias
"Shot…on…HD HERO2® camera
Kalani Chapman shows us what riding an endless wave feels like at Cloudbreak in Tavarua, Fiji."
From Evan Kahn

A Child's Tiny Home in a Gypsy Wagon

I was going over some old files in preparation for working on our new book on 21st century nomadics, and ran across this letter from Serena in Home Work (p.176). It refers to the 37 Chevy flatbed truck converted to a rolling home by Joaquin de la Luz and his wife Gypsy, and featured in Shelter (pp. 90-91), and in later years used as a bedroom by 4-year-old Serena. It was such a nice example of happy childhood memories, I thought I'd reprint it here.
"My earliest memories of the Gypsy Wagon begin when I was three or four years old. At that point, our family had settled down in a little house on the Klamath River, in Northern California. We had all moved out of the Gypsy Wagon but I really missed it. I remember begging my mom and dad to let me use it as my bedroom. Luckily for me, my parents were such free spirits that they could really relate to my independence. The wagon became my room. I have memories of kissing my parents goodnight, leaving the house, and walking to my own little Gypsy Wagon. I had a huge doll that my mom had made for me, named "Howdy Doody." She made it out of vintage dress fabric, with old mother-of-pearl buttons for the eyes and mouth.  Each night, I'd hoist Howdy Doody over my shoulder (he was bigger than me) and off we'd go. I loved the coziness I felt each night as I climbed into my bed. I remember the beautiful hand construction of the wagon, the texture of the wood, the hinges, and the little window above my bed. Everything about it was so warm. I think what made it so special was that is was filled with good intentions. My parents set out in the Gypsy Wagon because they were peaceful people. Their travels always had the purpose of happiness. The wagon was constructed almost entirely of other people's discarded junk. My father's creativity soared as he built it, and my mother made it a home.To this day, I really appreciate the warmth of simple things like old fabric and rusty metal. This is my history, as a child of  free spirits with peace as their purpose. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Bill Coperthwaite's Yurt in Maine Woods

Photo from woodworker Peter Follansbee's website. Check out also Peter's wood carvings.
Thanks to Bob Dow